chapter  7
21 Pages

Football and identity in the Ruhr: The case of Schalke 04

BySiegfried Gehrmann

The Ruhr region is one of the world’s biggest industrial agglomerations, and to many visitors it looks like one huge city. However, this region cannot be regarded as a metropolis in the strict sense of the term. Mining and metalworking were established early in the Ruhr region, the real economic take-off phase did not occur until the 1840s and 1850s. Outcropping coal had been mined on the slopes of the Ruhr valley to the parallel line of the Hellweg, an ancient trade route running from the Rhine to Middle Germany via Essen, Dortmund and Soest. The enormous popularity Gelsenkirchen-Schalke 04 and Borussia Dortmund have gained, not only in their home towns but in the whole Ruhr region, resulted without doubt from their brilliant performances. Gelsenkirchen-Schalke 04 FC was founded as ‘Westfalia Schalke’ on May 4, 1904, in Schalke, a suburb of Gelsenkirchen.